Editorials - Feb. 18, 2021
Justice is not always just
Marco Muzzo, who pled guilty in 2016 to impaired driving causing the death of the father and all three children of Jennifer Neville-Lake, has been granted full parole after serving under half of his 10-year sentence.
As heart-wrenching as this parole is for the family of the victims, it has also been tough to watch from the sidelines. Muzzo has repeatedly downplayed his binge drinking and blamed everything from his work stress, to the need to “wine and dine” clients and the demands of his fiancée. In fact, he had just returned from a wild bachelor party in Miami on a private jet when he got behind the wheel of his Jeep with a blood alcohol level over three times the legal limit.
For this hearing he learned to play the game and finally say the right things for the board to grant the parole he had been turned down for one year ago (even though he was granted day parole at the time).
A 10-year sentence for four lives lost after getting behind the wheel while intoxicated does not seem like a cruel or unusual punishment. Even asking for early parole after such destruction smacks of white privilege for a rich man. Would the parole board feel the same if this were a poor Black man or a marginalized Indigenous woman? – DS
Take it seriously
We all know what overt racism looks like. People in hoods, a burning cross, images from the Holocaust, a swastika, a confederate flag, etc. However, casual, everyday racism – that’s sometimes happening without the offending party even knowing it – can be a little harder to identify.
The whole Black Lives Matter movement has been crucial in bringing awareness to the fact that, very often, interactions between the police and the Black community are different than those between the police and white people, sometimes arriving at a tragic, even deadly conclusion. But also – it’s right there in the title – at the heart of it is that Black lives need to matter as much as any other life in order to achieve equality.
It began in early February when the Durham Regional Police rolled out new cruisers for Black History Month emblazoned with images of Martin Luther King Jr., Viola Desmond and others. Those who proposed the move likely had their hearts in the right place, but others felt the “performative” statement was a slap in the face when meaningful consultation on race relations is needed, not tacky car art.
Then came the widely-mocked scavenger hunt devised by the Region of Durham for employees, entitled “Rise to the Challenge” for Black History Month. It encouraged employees to perform asinine tasks linked to Black culture in a cartoonish way, like dancing to a reggae song, talking to a Black employee or cooking an African or Caribbean meal. The challenge was skewered for its trivial approach to Black culture and, again, while the government was likely trying to do the right thing, all it did was serve to turn Black culture into a novelty to behold or observe.
The first step toward bridging the ever-widening racial gap is to apply the Golden Rule and treat everyone the way you would want to be treated. Only after employing that kind of respect and equality can we truly say we’re on the way to addressing a very real problem. – SL
Find the same standards
Gina Carano was recently fired from The Mandalorian, a Star Wars universe show. And while you may or may not know her, you likely know of the problem she represents. The prevailing narrative is that Carano was fired for comparing the climate of the United States, where conservative-leaning individuals are being ostracized, to that of Europe just before the Second World War broke out. She said that political beliefs were being outed in the same way the Nazis convinced people to turn against their Jewish neighbours.
It was a horrible thing to say and a horrible way to make her point and it cost her, but it was the latest of controversies surrounding Carano.
What makes it interesting, however, is that her Tweets could have come from Republican Member of Congress Marjorie Taylor Greene, who has talked about Jewish space lasers, or former President Donald Trump and, instead of sparking outrage and firing, it would’ve simply emboldened those who have imbibed that ideology’s Kool-aid.
We live in a society in which we hold our celebrities to a higher standard than our politicians and that needs to change. If we expect our entertainers – people who likely have as much in common with the common voter as a fish does with a bird – to act in a way respectful of all races, why do our politicians get a pass? There are celebrity entertainers who have lost their jobs for making off-colour remarks, yet Premier Justin Trudeau’s black-face scandal is now just a punchline.
One of two things need to happen: we need to stop holding celebrities to such a high standard and realize they can be just as misinformed as anyone else or we need to hold our politicians to a higher standard. The latter is the more desirable option, however it may also be the hardest to implement with the fervour taking over political arenas. – JDS